Four Teams Linked to Zach LaVine in Free Agency as Bulls Guard Ponders Future

Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls and Dorian Finney-Smith of the Dallas Mavericks.

Getty Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls and Dorian Finney-Smith of the Dallas Mavericks.

The Chicago Bulls will head into this offseason with one question: Will Zach LaVine choose to resign? After a non-committal exit interview stirred the pot, a ton of reports have surfaced about LaVine potentially ditching the Bulls this summer.

Recently, KC Johnson of NBC Sports published an article providing some insight into LaVine’s situation. According to the insider, LaVine re-upping with the Bulls this offseason is “no longer is considered the slam dunk it once was.”

In addition, he mentioned that several teams have already been linked to LaVine. Johnson listed four teams that have been connected to the Bulls star through the rumor mill.

“What’s certain is that league gossip throughout this week has linked LaVine to at least four teams — Lakers, Trail Blazers, Mavericks, Hawks — with almost certainly more to follow,” Johnson reported.”

While those four teams are all in very different situations, each would benefit from adding LaVine to the roster. However, not all of them would be able to sign the star outright. This would open the door to potential sign-and-trade opportunities for Chicago.

Potential Packages for LaVine This Offseason

LaVar Ball recently suggested that LaVine plans to join the Los Angeles Lakers this summer, but his path there would be a treacherous one. Since the Lakers won’t have enough cap space to sign him, the Bulls would have to entertain a sign-and-trade. And while a hometown reunion with Anthony Davis sounds nice, the more likely scenario would be Russell Westbrook in the Windy City.

It’s unlikely that the Bulls would entertain that option, meaning LaVine’s hopes of linking up with LeBron James would be crushed. However, the other three teams Johnson noted could offer much more enticing packages.

The Dallas Mavericks could offer up two of Jalen Brunson, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Maxi Kleber, providing the Bulls with some much-needed all-around depth. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Hawks may be willing to offer a package involving either John Collins or De’Andre Hunter.

Out of the four, the Portland Trail Blazers are the only team that would be able to sign LaVine outright, although they would have to dump Eric Bledsoe’s contract first. But if they wanted to get involved in sign-and-trade talks, the Bulls could ask for swingman Josh Hart in the deal. The 27-year-old forward is coming off an impressive end-of-the-year stretch with Portland after being dealt there at the trade deadline.

Regardless of where LaVine ends up, the one thing that is certain is that the two-time All-Star wants a big-time payday.

LaVine on Being a Max Player: ‘Important to Me’

During his exit interview at the end of the year, LaVine made it abundantly clear that he wants a max contract. He stated that the Bulls front office and his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, will have to discuss it this summer.

“It’s important to me,” LaVine declared. “You get paid what you’re valued at. I see myself as a top guy in this league, and I think I’ve proven that over the last four years. And I think that’s what we’re going to negotiate. I think that’s what Marc (Eversley), [Artūras Karnišovas], that’s what they and Rich are going to have to discuss.”

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LaVine has averaged 24.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.4 assists throughout his five seasons in Chicago while shooting 46.8% from the field and 38.9% from three-point land. He’s made two All-Star appearances and helped the Bulls get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2017.

The Bulls will have the opportunity to offer LaVine more money than anyone else this summer, but whether or not they will choose to is uncertain. But if they don’t, LaVine may set sail for another, less windy city.

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